Child care providers unsure of next steps after announcement


As the ink dries on the recent landmark child care agreement between Alberta and the federal government, what does this mean for child care operators? Tammie Comstock, owner and teacher of TLC Preschool, says it’s both very exciting and intimidating.

Now that the deal is done, there will be a lot of details to work out at the provincial level. Comstock said there was a public meeting with Minister Schulz after the announcement and said: “… there is still a lot of logistics that we don’t have, they just gave us back information on what has been published. But there will certainly be a lot of paperwork. Child care facilitators are still waiting to find out what the revised system will look like. As it has been announced that some of the changes will take effect as early as January 2022, in just a few weeks the schedule will be tight. Comstock says she was a bit baffled by the January deadline. “I’m sure I wasn’t the only one going, how the hell?” Only because we don’t have the information yet. So it’s great for families. But as a supplier, I don’t know what our next steps are yet, and they are saying it over the next couple of weeks, which is now Christmas. However, Comstock remains upbeat and cautiously optimistic that the process will go smoothly so that the applications of families who apply for a child care space can be passed through.

In short, the agreement between the two governments means that Alberta will receive $ 3.8 billion in funding for quality child care in Alberta. The cost to families will be drastically halved on average by January 2022. The goal is to have $ 10 per day in child care in the province by 2026. More than 42,000 additional spaces will open over the two coming years with an emphasis on quality. childcare, especially in rural areas. Comstock says that during mayor, Schulz called some rural areas desert areas with no childcare facilities. Comstock says his opinion from mayor was that the provincial government will focus on rural Alberta first when it comes to expanding and opening more daycares and space.

During the press conference, it was evident that all of the women involved were moved and passionate about the topic of affordable child care because they could speak firsthand about the issue. As Comstock puts it, “As women working in the field, they know what it is like to need to go to work or want to work so that they can have a great place to send their children, but find it financially. a viable place for them to work. So this is an opportunity for that to happen. “

For many families, the announcement seems to have been a long time coming and some may have felt that Alberta was dragging its feet with the federal government at times, but Comstock says that from a supplier’s perspective, she is happy that the provincial government and Minister Schulz has stood firm on some issues such as private facilities. In fact, 69% of spaces in Alberta are managed by the private sector and many of them are women entrepreneurs. Comstock said, “I know when they went to sign this they wanted to make sure they honored the nonprofit, public and private part of child care.” Comstock adds, “I’m glad they took the time to make sure they looked at all of the people who currently run child care centers.”

Finally, it goes without saying that the funding of $ 300 million allocated to the training and development of child care workers will be more than welcome.

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